Tag Archives: Vietnamese

It’s culinary culture day!

The fourth meeting with my group mates was all about the good food of our respective countries.

Duy and Danh talked about some delicious typical “tourist friendly” food. All of these plates listed below are  typical Vietnamese delicacies, and they also have a vegetarian version for most of these (I am a vegetarian and I was quite  interested in knowing this).

  • Phở
  • Bánh mì
  • Nem
  • Bún
  • Cuốn 

For the italian cuisine we talked about pizza, pasta, risotto and many more typical and delicious italian dishes. This meeting was focused on the cultural side of a country and language, and this gave insight on the typical diets of Vietnamese and Italians and the differences of these. After talking about the “tourist friendly” dishes we went on to some more “hardcore” Vietnamese dishes, which are not usually known around the world. This was very interesting culturally, because the origin of these dishes is poverty, in the sense that in the past the situation in Vietnam lead to a consumption of any edible good. The dishes eaten could be made up of almost any animal, this comes also from the Chinese influence.

It was so interesting to learn about the culinary culture of Vietnam.

Italian – Vietnamese fourth meeting

Ciao! Xin chào!

This week we talked about food (yum)!

Me and Danh introduced Sara to many Vietnamese specialties, those that are rather famous globally (phở, nem, bún, bánh mì, etc), and how to distinguish some authentic dishes from fake ones. Sara learned many dishes and their alternatives, and how to pronounce them. She also found out that Vietnamese literally eat everything, and some dishes can be rather disturbing or disgusting. At least she is kinda willing to try durian (sầu riêng) though.

Sara introduced us to Italy with lots of really good spices and ingredients. She talked about pizza and pasta and some other dishes, and of course, she talked about cheese, one thing I bet many Italians have to be very proud of. She taught us how to distinguish between different kinds of pasta and cheese from the looks, smell, and aging!

Italian – Vietnamese third meeting

Ciao! Xin chào!

This is the third meeting for Danh and Sara, but my first-ever meeting. I was warmly welcomed by both of them and got to know each other a little bit. Both Sara and Danh were speaking about verb tense, and it’s really interesting to know how different they are in terms of structure. Sara noted that Italian has many verb tenses and some can be very difficult, so she taught us those simple ones that are mostly used in real life. Sara definitely makes our learning experience a lot better and easier, and I can trust her fully because she knows her country very very well.

For Vietnamese, Danh taught Sara verb tenses too. In contrast with Italian, Vietnamese verb tenses are very simple (you add a specific word prior to the verb and its tense changes) and I think Sara got it perfectly.

I introduced Sara to some popular holidays in Vietnam, both native ones that only celebrated ourselves and some international holidays as well. I really wanted to emphasize the women’s days because that is a very special feature of Vietnam!

From this meeting, we would be talking with themes. And for the next meeting, we’d be talking about food!

Italian – Vietnamese catching-up meeting

Ciao! Xin chào!

I was introduced a little bit late for the course, but luckily Sara offered me a catching-up meeting to match up with Danh a little bit. In the meeting, Sara was introducing me again to the most basic things of Italian, from greetings, the alphabet to notable pronunciation. I was really surprised to learn that Italian words have genders, which is really different from my Vietnamese vocabulary structure. Sara helped me a lot in distinguishing between knowing genders of words and how to pronounce as close to a native Italian as possible. It’s a long way to go but I think I’m taking baby steps!

At the end of the meeting, me and Sara agreed that the following meetings would be more open. As we are learning on Zoom and it’s kinda hard to concentrate on the grammar, we decided that we would come up with a theme for each meeting, selecting words, sentences, and cultural knowledge that are relevant and famous so it becomes more of a tour guide. I personally think it’s more practical that way!

Third meeting, third member!

Our Vietnamese-Italian third meeting was held on Saturday 03.10 with a surprising new member!

Duy Ha joined our group and now we are working as a trio. The dynamic will be the following: I will continue teaching Danh italian and I will also teach Duy Italian, the two of them will teach me Vietnamese together. It’s an unexpected and fun change of plan but we will follow with the same languages!

At the start of the meeting we introduced ourselves to our new member and we got to know each other a bit better. Duy is also in Vietnam so we will continue our learning and teaching process through Zoom.

Danh explained me how to form the past tense for verbs and how to form the plural of different words. This grammar part was very easy to understand because I only have to add a certain grammatical particle in front of the verb/word to make a change to a past tense or to a plural form. For this part it was quite easy for Danh and Duy to explain me how it works because it was quite an easy concept.
Duy also introduced me to Vietnamese culture by talking about different holidays in the country, with the both of Danh and Duy talking about these different holidays I got a really clear idea of what kind of events are worth celebrating in Vietnam. It was really interesting and fun to hear all of these events, but the most impressive fact is that they celebrate 2 Women’s days a year, the International Women’s day and the Vietnamese Women’s day. Any woman in Vietnam during these 2 days will be congratulated and offered flowers/small presents (depending on the type of relationship) to celebrate the day.

For the italian teaching, I introduced them to the verb tenses in Italian and we went through the ones that they will specifically use in an A1-A2 level of fluency. This part was very challenging because in the italian language there are many verb tenses, in contrary to English language the grammar is quite complicated, especially for someone who is not familiar with Romance languages. I think I got through to Danh on these concepts by minimising the verb tenses that he needs to learn, we will concentrate on the most used ones in an everyday use of the language.
My ability of teaching is improving but I can notice that the hardest parts to teach and make the other person understand are grammar and the complex rules of how to form sentences in the language.

Duy and I will have a “private” meeting during this week to catch him up on the things I have taught Danh already in the first 2 meetings so that he will then be able to follow the lessons I give Danh fully.

It’s exciting to see how different people learn a new language!

Bạn khoè không?

How are you? (Bạn khoè không? Come stai?)

Me and Danh had our second meeting on Saturday 26.09. We had to skip last week’s session because I was travelling to my home city during the day and Danh was busy in the evening. We had an intense second session though!

We started learning some grammar. I explained to Danh the genders in italian and how articles work. Grammar is quite difficult to explain to someone with no knowledge of the language, this is the part were both of us have to put most of the effort. For me, teaching these things is challenging because they come naturally to me, but I have to find the right way to explain how the rules work and to make my explanation as easy as possible for Danh to understand. Also, learning is always the hardest part at the beginning, especially concerning grammar and rules of the language.

The difference in italian and Vietnamese is huge, so we cannot use the same method for teaching/learning. I have to prepare material before hand and go over some rules myself, to be able to be clear e.g. on how to use the different articles.

Danh taught me about the different ways of approaching strangers, based on age and the level of intimacy with the person. It’s very interesting, because there are so many different words for pronouns! I enjoyed this part quite a lot, because I know some Japanese and there are similarities in the culture, especially the use of different pronouns for people of specific ages and/or to show more/less respect. I understood and assimilated this quite easily, mostly because of my previous knowledge in other language with similar use of pronouns.

For example:

  • pronoun for younger sister/brother: em
  • pronoun for older sister: chị
  • pronoun for older brother: anh

Some expressions:

  • How are you? : Bạn khoè không?
  • Nice to meet you? : Rât vui được gặp bạn

I am getting more and more excited to learn Vietnamese and I think that Danh and I are doing a good job in the teaching part. It’s the first time I teach someone italian and I think it’s the same for Danh so this has been quite the challenge! But the more challenging it is, the more excited I get to master a new language/skill.

I’ll add a picture of my notes, we again had a Zoom meeting seen as we cannot physically meet.



First meeting, first laughs!

It’s time for our first lesson!

Danh and me met online in a zoom meeting on Saturday 12.09. It was our first official meeting and it lasted 1,5 h, each of us was teaching for about 45 minutes .

Danh is in Vietnam so the only possibility of meeting for us is through Zoom. The first lesson was really exciting! In italian we went through the alphabet and some basic words and expressions. In Vietnamese we went through the alphabet and the different sounds that are formed with more letters. Vietnamese is hard!

The pronunciation for Danh in italian is quite easy, he’s very good at it. For me it was a bit more challenging because the sounds in Vietnamese are very different than in any other language that I speak. I am still very motivated and aiming for an A2 level!

We will meet every week and also go through the things we did on our own at home. It was really fun to have this first lesson with Danh and I am looking forward to learning more and getting better!








– Sara Di Giovanni

Back to the kindergarten.

Hi there, here is Pedro again. Chi and I had our meeting on March 16th. This time, as agreed at the meeting before we talked about our alphabet and some basic greetings in our languages.

As opposed to what we had in the last meeting where our culture and food where kind of similar, this time we found out how different the alphabets can be. Even though the Vietnamese alphabet has 29 letters and the Spanish one has 27 letters, there are significant differences among them. First, there are some consonants that one has and the other doesn’t as well some differences in the vowels. The Vietnamese alphabet having three types of accent in contrast with the Spanish that only has one type. Chi showed me the difference in the pronunciation of these accents that, to be honest, at first I didn’t find any difference but after repeating it for a couple of times I got it.

Concerning the greetings, it was interesting the fact that for Vietnamese people is not that common to say “good morning” or “good afternoon”, they prefer the use of a “hello” or a “bye” instead. Another curious thing I could realize in this meeting is, finally, a similarity. This was not in the content of the language itself but in the way we use it. In Spanish, when we talk to an elder person or a person that is older than us we change the pronoun “you” for a more formal one in order to express our respect towards them and in Vietnam they do something quite similar to the mentioned before, changing the pronoun according to whom you are talking.

On the left, the Vietnamese alphabet. On the right the Spanish alphabet.

This meeting was really productive since in the short time we had we could cover different aspects of our languages. Those were basic but I found them useful and interesting. Looking forward to having the next meeting, hopefully, we will be doing some outdoor activity or something similar.


My schedule is very tight next week…..

Not this day, I have to work….

Not that time period, I have lecture….

Do these sayings above sound so familiar to you when it comes to decide time for group meetup?

Yeah yeah you guess it right! We also encountered that situation.

BUT that is ANOTHER issue. Let’s me first introduce our squad.

  1. What is the name of this course again? Uhmm……EACH ONE TEACH ONE. Does it sound so straight to you? A One teaches another one and then that one teaches another another one and then that another one teaches a one or another one. Or then a one teaches another another one and vice versa. Or then … JUST FORGET IT. Basically we are a group of 3 people teaching each other. Sound much easier right?
  2. We are a multicultural group. A German, a  Fin and a Vietnamese. Together we are GFV aka Guaranteed Future Value :)))))) If you do not know what it is, well then Google does not charge you anything! Asian joke mode on.
  3. Only Tuuli has glasses.
  4. Tabea has brunnett hair.
  5. Final clue: Vietnamese girl has Asian eyes.

Until now, can you guess who is who?

If you can, congratulation and you can finish your reading here. Thanks for your time 🙂 Keep calm and wait for my next blog!!! Hmm next time I will try to make it even harder for you guys.

If you can not figure it out, well trust me you are completely normal. Believe or not, even me cannot understand it. So we are in the same boat now. Well unfortunately, there are some more interesting things down below 🙂

This is us!


This is the first time I saw Tabea and the second time I met Tuuli. They were such beautiful people and I just could not get my eyes off them.

Well off-topic haha. Let’s get back to main points. Basically we discussed when, where and how we would meet next time. And also what to do during the next meetup. It was only a 2-week plan, however, it took us 1.30 hours to jump at final conclusions.

During the discussion, we somehow mentioned Mämmi and Glögi 🙂 Oops. They are quite good in my personal opinion. I know I know. You must think that something looks like liquid poop. Well you can actually mix that thing with Salmiakki, vanilla or your favourite ice cream flavour. Trust me, se on tosi hyvä!

I think I need to stop here or otherwise this is going to be way too long. Thanks for your time and your concern. Wish you a fantastic day and enjoy your current life. You know life is too short for negative thoughts and situations, be yourself and hope life would treat you better and better each day!

Bonus section for those lovely people reading my blog post:

You gotta try harder and fight harder for your own good, as long as you don’t disturb others business.

To be continued soon….